In Sunday’s (9/27) Chicago Sun-Times, Laura Emerick writes, “The curtain went up Saturday night on the 55th anniversary season of Lyric Opera of Chicago, even though the company’s orchestra and management are at a contract impasse. Members of Lyric Opera Orchestra, represented by Chicago Federation of Musicians Local 10-208, met at 2 p.m. Saturday and agreed to play the opening-night performance of Puccini’s ‘Tosca.’ Orchestra members are seeking a 22.6 percent wage and benefit increase over four years. Though the contract expired April 30, the orchestra has not yet voted to strike. Lyric musicians did vote 50-7 not to accept what management has called its final offer, said William Cernota, a cellist and the chairman of the orchestra’s members committee. … Lyric general director William Mason said he is not sure when negotiations would resume. Lyric’s next performance is Wednesday.” Mason says administrative staff have already taken a pay freeze. “Lyric has been hit by the recession. Its endowment is down 30 percent and subscriptions are off 13 percent, said director of communications Susan Mathieson Mayer.”

Posted September 28, 2009